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Opinion needed, wanted on hospitals plan for the future
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Dear Community,

Many Effingham County citizens may be aware, but have not given feedback, to our Effingham County Hospital Authority’s plans to create a not for profit 501c3 business entity and then sometime shortly afterward build a new hospital facility. It is understood that via this new business, the HA would be allowed to create business partnerships with private individuals and doctors thus establishing a private/public operation. It is also understood that this new business would be governed by a newly established and separate board of directors, which would ultimately be governed by our HA board.

What is not understood is the structure, activities, budgeting, responsibilities, accountabilities and power of this new business board and how the open records law might or might not apply to this board. Nor is it understood exactly what powers this new business board will have in the event of circumstances such as the HA board having stalled/stalemated decisions, discord, or becoming dysfunctional. Further, it is unknown whether or not other hospital authorities that our currently operating this new private/public business type are now successful and have actually gotten to a point where they no longer need millage money from their county.

It is indeed great that the HA is taking a proactive stance for our future and giving great efforts to transition into a self sustaining business that does not need millage from taxpayers! Not to mention the fact that from 2007 to 2008 they reduced their amount of needed millage. It is even better to realize the potential for further economic development and job growth within Effingham County. The HA’s actions are encouraged and should be applauded.

However, it should be known that the HA feels that this non-traditional way to do business is necessary in that it would liberate decision making processes from the constraints of political constituencies.

Because of this, as your at large commissioner representing the entire county, I would like to strongly encourage everyone’s active involvement and ask for your feedback concerning our HA’s future plans.

Most importantly, due to the fact that this new private/public business would be operated with the use of taxpayer’s money, I need to know our citizen’s questions, comments and concerns. Please respond no later than March 16 via either email at or fax at 754-4157.

Dusty Zeigler
Effingham County Commission Chairman